Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Nuts & Bolts #68 - Recalls Past Lives (new Cypher System focus)


The genesis of this idea comes from the post-show chit-chat after this week's Cypher Live. I like to play around with rules, adapting things within games and between systems. This is no different with the Cypher System and something we were talking about triggered this idea in my head. The core mechanic of this focus is one we've seen already in The Strange in the form of the "Reach Beyond" ability that that game's types all gain at 2nd tier. In this case, it provides a great way to emulate a character who can recall past lives...

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You live, you die, you're born again. An endless cycle of rebirth, or so some say. Some even believe that you can tap into that prior life, recall those memories, regain lost knowledge from a prior existence. You're one of those few who not only believes such things, but can actually do so. Through regular meditation and intense focus you can reach back to your prior lives and temporarily regain lost skills, abilities, and memories.

This focus gradually allows you to unlock past lives and some of the abilities that those past selves had. This focus can work for any Type, and has the potential to allow for characters with a great deal of depth or breadth by tapping in their past lives.

Connection: Choose or randomly determine one of the following:
  1. Pick one other PC. One of your past lives was a relation of theirs. 
  2. Pick one other PC. Your most recent past life was a mentor or teacher of theirs prior to your last death.
  3. Pick one other PC. You recall a past life where you knew one of their past lives. 
  4. Pick one other PC. You believe that this character is on a path of negative karma, and you want to help make sure that they do not slip backwards on their reincarnation cycle.

Minor Effect Suggestion: You gain a flash of insight into a past situation that can help you. Your next task gains an asset.

Major Effect Suggestion: You recall a past life memory in vivid detail. This memory provides a clue to the mysteries of your current situation.

Tier 1:
  • Past Life Knowledge - You can recall the specifics of a prior incarnation of your soul with great detail. Work with your GM to establish the details and lifetime of this past life. Choose one focus that this past life had. Enabler.
  • Regression (3 Intellect Points) - You focus your mind on a past life and bring to mind a skill or ability of that past version of yourself. You gain a focus ability (including abilities which grant skill training) from one of you past lives' foci (as gained through the Past Life Knowledge abilities) at your current Tier or lower, and can use the skill or ability once paying all normal costs for that ability. To use it again, you must use Regression again. Enabler.

Tier 2:
  • Trained Mind - You are trained in the techniques of meditation and focus of your mind, including any tasks involving recalling memorized information. Enabler.
  • Strong Soul - You constant meditation and focus on yourself and your past lives has granted you an exceptional reserve of inner strength. You gain +4 to your Intellect pool. Enabler.

Tier 3:
  • Improved Regression - When you use Regression to gain a focus ability you can retain that skill or ability for 1 minute during which time you may use it freely, paying the normal costs. Enabler.
  • Additional Past Life Knowledge - You have gained the knowledge of another of your past lives. As with the Tier one ability you may work with the GM to establish the details and lifetime of this past life. You may choose a focus that this life possessed and gain its skills and abilities when using Regression. Enabler.

Tier 4:
  • Specialized Mind - You are now specialized in meditation techniques, mental focus, and memory recall techniques. Enabler.
  • Regained Training - You have connected to one of your past lives strongly enough that you can recall portions of it freely, without need of concentration. You may choose one focus ability (including ability that provides skill training) from Tiers one through three from among your two past lives gained through this focus. You gain that ability as a permanent ability that you may use freely without need of using Regression. Enabler.

Tier 5:
  • Superior Regression - When you use Regression to gain a focus ability you can retain that ability for 1 hour during which time you may use it freely, paying the normal costs. Enabler.
  • Additional Past Life Knowledge - Create a third past life and choose a focus that is possessed. This life and its experiences are now available for your use with Regression. Enabler.

Tier 6:
  • Additional Past Life Knowledge - You gain a fourth past life and associated focus that you may now call upon using the Regression ability. Enabler.
  • Regained Mastery - Choose a skill or focus ability provided by your four past lives at any Tier level. You gain that ability as a permanent ability that you may use freely without need of using Regression. Enabler.